Whitsunday. The “White Sunday” of the baptism of old in the early Church links itself with the lily-work of the laver’s brim, that comes next in the Temple carvings. It does not seem quite sure what the lilies of the field in Palestine were. Some think they were the anemones of the hill-sides. Might it possibly be that they were the water-lilies which cover all the quiet pools in Palestine? In any case there must have been lilies of some sort that stood for purity and fragrance, as the Song of Solomon shows.
It will be a wonderful day when purity through and through, in the reign of the “greater than Solomon” will mark all our work. It is only as we get to know ourselves that we realize how intense that need of purity is for the perfect service of the hereafter. When that day comes we shall have been brought out from the “blameless” that God looks for now to the “faultless” of His perfect work. And as we take present life on the victory side of Jordon to be the preparation for that day of coming purity, we shall realize that the heart-purifying is one of the surest marks that that passage over Jordan has been taken. Of all the descriptions that I have ever seen of that work of present cleansing, that is already made for us by the Spirit for taking on the Canaan side of Jordan, this by George Fox always seems to me the almost absolutely perfect:
“I knew Jesus and He was very precious to my soul; but I found something in me that could not keep sweet and patient and kind. I did what I could to keep it down, but it was there. I besought Jesus to do something for me, and when I gave Him my will, He came to my heart, and took out all that would not be sweet, all that would not be kind, all that would not be patient, and then He shut the door.”
“Then He shut the door” is the seal on that purification of here and now. It brings us under the power of the mighty cleansing of the precious Blood, the “goes on cleansing” of John 1:7. And that work is completed on our side in purifying our souls by “obeying the truth of the Spirit,” “obedience to the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ,” as fresh light from His word reveals fresh stretches of need. This obedience is the “washing of water by the word” as point after point in the way of God’s commandments flashes out.
This is the great circle of Solomon’s laver: the brim of that sea for the priests to wash in – “a hand breadth in thickness” – was all carved in lily-work. It stood, that laver, in the forefront as the priest went inwards to the sanctuary.
~ Lilias Trotter (May 27, 1928)